DUNEDIN — The Rays extended their majors-best win streak to 10 games Sunday in a wild way, rallying for four runs in the ninth inning to beat the Blue Jays 6-4.
Down 4-2, the Rays strung together solid at-bats in a four-run final inning, getting one run on Brett Phillips’ single, then three on consecutive bases-loaded walks by reliever Travis Bergen.
The 10-game streak is the second longest in their 24-season franchise history. The 2004 Devil Rays won 12 straight under Lou Piniella in what was a breakthrough season as they reached the 70-win mark for the first time.
The rally for the Rays (29-19) started when Ji-Man Choi walked, Brandon Lowe slapped a pinch-hit single, Taylor Walls delivered a fielder’s choice grounder and Phillips an RBI single. Randy Arozarena flied to right for the second out, then Yandy Diaz walked to load the bases,
They tied it when Austin Meadows, after fouling off three pitches, drew a full count walk from lefty Bergen, who stepped off the rubber several times thanks to Walls feigning breaking for home. Manuel Margot drew another full-count walk to put them ahead, and Mike Brosseau did the same to plate another run.
The Jays had gone ahead in the eighth on a two-run homer by Randal Grichuk off Josh Fleming. Teoscar Hernandez reached on a one-out infield single on a ball shortstop Walls gloved but threw wide of first.
The Rays took the lead from the start Sunday, as Arozarena led off the game with a double and scored on a two-out single by Margot.
The Jays tied it in the fourth when Hernandez homered off Fleming, the second Tampa Bay pitcher.
The Rays went back ahead in the fifth when Francisco Mejia, the other half of what has been a dynamic catching duo, homered his third to pair with Mike Zunino’s 11.
But the Jays came right back to get even again in the fifth, as Fleming allowed three consecutive two-out singles, to Lakewood High product Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez.
Michael Wacha came off the injured list to make the start for the Rays as an extended opener, working the first two innings. Wacha has last worked May 2, sidelined since by hamstring tightness. He allowed one hit and one walk, throwing 24 pitches.
Fleming went the next six innings, which was a help for the Rays as they has used their bullpen heavily the previous two games.
Centerfielder Phillips had a busy day for the Rays with eight putouts, starting with a spectacular running and diving catch on leadoff man Marcus Semien in the first.
The teams wrap up the series, and the Blue Jays’ stay in Dunedin as their regular-season home, with a Monday matinee at TD Ballpark. The Jays will shift their remaining home games to Buffalo, N.Y.
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